Epilogue

Rabastan hadn't seen Andromeda after that. She had stayed away from him and his family, and if Bellatrix and Narcissa were to be believed, she stayed away from them as well, preferring to stay out on the moor for hours on end. She was no longer welcome at the Lestranges' home, and that had suited Rabastan at first – he didn't have to face her, which was far easier than having to endure the mutinous glares that she would give him if they did happen to cross paths.

But Rabastan didn't need her. He had the Dark Lord. The Dark Lord, who favoured him, who lay with him, who made him feel as though he had some strength. It was better to be the Dark Lord's favourite and dedicate his life to him than have to contend with the temperaments of women like Andromeda. He didn't go up onto the moors anymore, and perhaps she didn't either, for he never saw her through his windows anymore.

She ran away not long after and it had been a relief for Rabastan that he would never have to see her again.

And for a while, all had been well.

But then, one night, Rodolphus had attended a meeting, and it was he who had been kept afterwards and returned the next morning smelling of alcohol and sex. Rabastan had privately raged, had needed to resist every urge to kill his brother on the spot and go to the Dark Lord and beg him never to lie with anyone else again. Rodolphus had not spent any nights in the Dark Lord's bed after that – not to Rabastan's knowledge, in any case – but Rabastan's nights became fewer and further between and after Bellatrix received her Mark, they stopped altogether. Bellatrix took on the role that Rabastan had once coveted, of the Dark Lord's favourite, his finest Death Eater and his bed mate as well.

Rabastan had nursed his fury over bottles of wine and had all but given up in his attempts to please his master. A part of him had almost been glad when the Dark Lord fell, though another part was agonized.

And then there had been Azkaban.

And in Azkaban, while Bellatrix in the next cell screamed of the Dark Lord and how he would come for her, Rabastan, silent in his little room, was haunted by Andromeda.

How could you do this, Rabastan?

How could you take the life that we had and ruin it like this?

We would have been happy together, Rabastan…

He had thought that when he was finally freed from Azkaban, he had escaped her as well. For days and weeks after he left the cell, he did not hear her voice, did not see her anymore, and he was sure that all was well now…

But it wasn't.

Because now, now that Rabastan had stumbled his way up to where they had once been happy together and now he was sitting beside her on that little stone wall (it had seemed so much bigger before, so much finer) and she was looking back at him with sad and ghostly eyes and he could not allow tears to fall.

"Are you happy, Rabastan?"

Are you happy?

No. He was not happy. Azkaban – Azkaban, haunted by Andromeda – had torn him apart, the changes that had come over the Dark Lord even before Azkaban had torn him apart, Andromeda herself had torn him apart…

"Do you regret what you did?"

And that was a far more difficult question.

What would his life have been if he had not chosen the Dark Lord over Andromeda? The choice had become so intimately connected to every aspect of his existence that he could no longer comprehend any other path that he could have taken.

Who would he have been if the Dark Lord had never taken him as a Death Eater – if he had seen weakness where everyone else had and had never been there to lend him strength? Would Rabastan still be nothing more than a cripple, unable to walk or talk or even think? Would he have never learned to exist without the help of potions and his family?

Who would he have been if the Dark Lord had never taken him as a lover? His romance – if it could be called that – with Andromeda had been chaste and lustless – would the rest of his life have been so as well? Would he have learned to desire her or would everything have always been innocent?

Who would he have been if he had not gone to Azkaban? What would his mind have been?

He could not think.

He could not picture a world without those events.

"I don't know," he whispered, and that was all that he could say.

)O(

Fin